Backbends are so central to yoga that you cannot mention yoga without thinking of backbends. A crucial part of any Hatha yoga routine, the backbend helps to preserve the health of your body’s vertebrae while aiding the proper function of the digestive system. Backbends also help maintain the health of the body’s spinal discs as well as opening your body to better breathing techniques. Sounds incredible, right?

As amazing as it sounds, the backbend places a significant demand on the lumbar region, one of the most vulnerable parts of the spine, which makes it vital that the pose is done right. Knowing how important it is to do this right, here are five tips to get you going!

Get started by inhaling
By inhaling, you are allowing your ribcage to rise to allow oxygen to fill your lungs as needed. As you breathe, the rib cage will expand, helping the spine elongate, which is necessary for you to enjoy and enter into the pose better.

Shoulders should always remain open and relaxed
Your shoulders are crucial to executing the perfect backbend, and when the shoulders aren’t opened up correctly, an ideal position for the backbend is a tad difficult. Go with poses like the Dolphin pose or the Reverse Namaste or the Gomukhasana arms that helps your body with expansion and also aid arm rotation.

Align your feet
This is another essential body part when doing the backbend. Aligning the feet is crucial as it has a direct impact on the pressure placed on the spine. For a strong foundation, root down through your feet, hands hips, and legs.

Try to keep your spine up in an even arc
The last thing you want to do is assume the backbend in a wrong move as it can affect your spine. Ensure that your neck remains long.